Ensuring community-led missing persons campaigns are helpful and not harmful
Doing research about successful (and highly creative, and tech-savvy) community-led missing person campaigns, it seems that the Missed Lives Project will be very helpful. As this article notes, social media pages/attention are important, but that there can be detriments.
In particular, unattended forums where tips and information are ignored can be problematic. Moreover, the result can be malicious and snowballing slander. Key will be ensuring that leads in criminal cases are going to Police, but social media will also be important to cater to folks who a) don't have a trust/good relationship with law enforcement, and b) who haven't found the Police outreach useful/visible.
Surprisingly, it's been written that the milk-carton campaign for missing children was not as effective as I had thought. It turns out that by putting children on an object that was commonly around children themselves, it created fearful and anxious responses, and worries about becoming a victim of child abduction. Not only is this key to realize in terms of what missing persons campaigns can negatively create (i.e. a public fear), but also to consider the impact of techniques on various members of the community.
While it's hard to imagine a community-led campaign could be as fear-inducing as the milk cartons (or the many many tv shows that sensationalize the violence and heartache of victims' families), it is possible that by bringing a community focus to regional cases that the systemic nature of violence will/could become unsettling. In particular, though watching Unsolved Mysteries/Dateline/48 Hours may be worrisome, it creates a type of distance between the viewer and victim (and a 'that could never happen in my neighbourhood/family' mentality). Alternatively, this Missed Lives Project may create unsettling links between victims and their communities. It will be important to keep this in mind moving forward so that campaigns are about empowerment and not fearfulness or re-traumatization.